How a Power Door Lock Works & Replacement

Here’s how to replace the power door locks on a Toyota. This is also a teardown video of what’s inside a power door lock actuator and latch and how it works.

Power door locks (or central locking systems) use an electric motor to cycle the lock into the unlock or locked state when you press the remote on your key fob or turn the key in the door. After many years the motors wear out and they slow in operation or quit working altogether.

The actuator assembly, which contains the motors and gear mechanism must then be replaced. The casing is glued together and if pry’d open the motor itself can be rebuilt or replaced.

Procedure involves removing a few screws and poping off the door panel. Once the handle is removed, its cables can be released and the plastic weather sheild can be pulled back. The door lock actuator and latch are one assembly.

Three torx screws and one 10mm but hold the assembly to the car. The door handle also needs to be removed to undo the handle rod (3 10mm bolts). Once the assembly is out, the actuator can be swapped over and tested before reinstalling into the car.

Applicable to Toyota Camry, Solara, Avalon and Lexus ES300.

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